A reader explains why you need to stand up for your consumer rights and how ordinary people can force major publishers to change their ways.
Anyone who has Mortal Kombat X (and isnt wrapped up with Mortal Kombat 11, I guess) might want to know that a number of previously premium DLC skins are now free to download. They are the Kosplay Pack, Blue Steel Sub-Zero, Krimson Ermac, and Gold Scorpion (which was previously exclusive to the XL Collectors Edition). I wanted to let everyone know this as there doesnt appear to have been much fuss about it (Im not sure NetherRealm even mentioned it) but also because I wanted to take credit for it.
You see, I got Mortal Kombat XL back in January and was rather miffed to find that even though it says all over the place that it includes every skin, the game was trying to charge extra for the skins Ive listed (and you couldnt even get the Scorpion one). I raised this issue with the publisher, Warner Bros., who basically brushed me off. So I made a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about it, as its entirely misleading.
The ASA found in my favour and informally resolved the issue with WB, who claimed that the skins werent included due to an error during development (directly contradicting what theyd previously told me) and that no-one had brought it up before, a statement that even the ASA rep found hard to believe. With that ruling in my pocket, I went back to WB and asked for the skins theyd forgotten to include with my supposedly complete game. They, again, brushed me off.
On the ASAs suggestion, I went to Citizens Advice, who said I should try and contact the trade organisation WB belong to for an alternative dispute resolution process. It turns out that there isnt a trade association for games developers/publishers in the UK, or at least not one that deals with consumer complaints.
The closest is UKIE, which is a lobbying organisation, who at least said theyd have a word with WB on my behalf when I contacted them. But how much that did I dont know, as theres no enforceable code of conduct for membership there. With that a dead end I took Citizens Advices other suggestion, which was to basically threaten WB with legal action in a small claims court, by sending a letter before action.
And that actually worked! Finally (it had been about three months by this point) WB relented and sent me codes for all the skins. I had also asked that they make the skins free for everyone and provide refunds for all customers theyd sold the erroneously premium skins to, but they didnt mention that point in their response to me and I figured I wouldnt push it, having got what I wanted.
But it looks like theyve done that too (except for the refunds, that was a bit pie in the sky). I dont really know how much of that is down to my complaint, how much was UKIE having a word, and how much is just that Mortal Kombat 11 is out and theyre feeling generous (I dont think theyve ever made DLC for earlier games free upon the release of sequels, though I could be wrong). Either way, it feels like a victory.
That might all sound like a lot of time and effort for some skins and well, yeah, it was. But it was also for principle. People complain about the shady practices of some developers and publishers, but its not going to stop unless theyre pressured about it. Consumer rights are only worth something if you fight for them and people shouldnt be afraid to use the tools and services available. OK, I was never going to actually go to court, but the threat of lRead More – Source